Chris Soler

Chris Soler

Chris Soler, 56, tends to a graft on one of the many fruit trees in his 12-acre permaculture farm in Bow, Wash. Instead of planting a desirable breed of fruit from seed, he simply cuts a piece off of his tree of choice, and fuses it to an existing tree. “It’s like weeding a garden,” Soler said. “You just take out the branches you don’t want, and plant the branches you like.” Soler grew up on a dairy farm in Skagit Valley with 8 other siblings, where he developed his animal husbandry and gardening skills from an early age. He and his wife now subsist on about 80 percent of food they grow on their land. “We could survive on what we’re producing, but it’s nice to have grain and cheese, among other things,” Soler said. The couple cans all the excess fruit from harvest and enjoy it over the winter and spring months.

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